Kansas Pecans: Revisiting a Top-Worked Tree

    We might be busy harvesting pecans this week but, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of a tree that I top-worked back in 2012 (photo at right). Frankly, I was amazed at how well the tree had grown and was glad to see that all my pruning efforts yielded a nice central-leader tree.

    You can see how I grafted this tree and then trained the scion into a central leader by going back and reviewing previous blog posts I made about this tree. Click on the blog post titles to link back to those posts.

    1. Top-working with a bark graft
    2. Bark graft bursting
    3. Training a new bark graft 
    4. Summer training a bark graft
    5. Summer pruning last year’s bark graft
    6. Directive pruning results

    Since I first grafted this tree, the scion has had four summers of new growth. The photos at left give you an idea how well this graft has grown. The cut surface on the stock tree has completely healed over and I now have a nice solid graft union.  In the 2015 photo, I’ve placed a red arrow to mark the spot where scion and stock meet. Notice the abrupt change in bark texture between the stock tree below and the scion above the red arrow.

    And finally I wanted to remind you why I needed to top work a fairly large tree in the first place. The 2012 photo at right shows the original tree before I started the top-working process. This tree had been severely damaged by an ice storm in 2007 and had grown into a tangled mess.

    Since the tree was originally grafted to the wrong cultivar for that location, I decided to change the tree over to the right cultivar and work on proper tree training all at the same time. By the end of the 2015 growing season, it looks like I’ve got a well shaped tree well on the way to nut production.

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